Prominent Saudis, including the royal family, have sent millions of dollars to the United States to build mosques to propagate an extremist form of Islam, Wahhabism. This form of Islam imposes strict restrictions on women and denies women equal rights with men. It also promotes the use of amputation and beheading as punishment for crimes. According to MSNBC, some Wahhabi communities have engaged in paramilitary training. Followers believe that they must defend Islam against perceived attack, using violence if necessary. Wahhabism ideology is connected to Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban militia in Afghanistan.
Scholars estimate that up to twenty-five percent of American Muslims who attend mosque regularly are Wahhabi. Others believe that this estimate is way too high and believe that Wahhabi influence is waning in the U.S. Saudis, during the 1970s and 1980s, poured funds into the U.S. to pay for what amounted to about fifty-seven percent of the mosques built in that period. The Saudi royal family itself also contributed millions to the construction of about a dozen Wahhabi mosques in the U.S. While Saudi Arabia claims that no conditions were placed on its donations to the mosques, American scholars claim that funding was contingent upon following patterns of behavior deemed appropriate by the Saudi government.
Media Resources: New York Times, 10/20/01; MSNBC News, 10/17/01
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .